Amber Gemstone & Information | Gemopedia by JTV | Gemopedia™
Amber is the ancient fossilized resin of trees that grew in forests millions of years ago. Over the eons, chemical and physical changes occurred, fossilizing the resin to produce what we know today as amber. Research indicates that amber ranges from about two million to 360 million years in age, although most gem quality amber is between 10 million and 50 million years old. Hardened resin that is significantly younger than amber, is known as copal. Although the age boundary that differentiates amber from copal is still debated, copal is considered to be less than 10 million years old, with a large proportion being significantly younger.
Light Yellow To Dark Brown, Orange, Red, White; Occasionally Greenish, Bluish Due To Fluorescence
Amber classificationCommonNameAmberSpeciesNAVarietyColorsLight Yellow To Dark Brown, Orange, Red, White; Occasionally Greenish, Bluish Due To FluorescenceAlternateNamesResinite, AmbriteGemstoneGroupsKeySeparationsSpecific gravity is a key indicator, one which may be tested by placing the specimen in a saturated salt solution having a specific gravity of approximately 1.12-1.13, in which amber should float. Plastic imitations, in contrast, will typically be denser and thus sink in a salt solution. Other tests for amber (versus plastic) include a hot needle test (checking for distinctive odor), sectility (scraping with a knife to see if it chips or crumbles instead of curling).ClassificationCommentsAmber is essentially a fossilized plant resin, often with fascinating inclusions. The presence of, amounts, and kinds of trapped material, such as insects or air bubbles, can cause the specific gravity to vary. Copal is an immature(young) version of the same material.
Amber chemistry & crystallographyChemicalNamesuccinic acidChemicalFormulaC12H2OO fossilized plant resinsSynthesisCrystalSystemNAChemistryClassificationOrganicNatureNaturalCrystallinityNon-CrystallineChemistryComments
Amber optical propertiesTransparencyTransparent - OpaqueDispersionStrength: noneOpticalCommentsRefractiveIndex1.54
Tolerance:(+0.005/-).001)Birefringence0OpticCharacterNAOpticSignNAPolariscopeReactionSingly Refractive (SR) With ADRFluorescenceSWUV: Inert to moderate yellowish green to orange yellow, white to bluish white to blue
LWUV: Inert to strong yellowish green to orange yellow, white to bluish white to blueCCFReactionPleochroismNone
Amber characteristic physical propertiesHardness2.5CharacteristicCommentsStreakWhiteSpecificGravity1-1.1 Range:0.02/-0.08 Typical:1.08ToughnessPoorInclusionsAmber will show a "Sun spangle" effect due to the stone being heated in oil. Stones might also show gas bubbles and flow lines. Sometimes included with insects or other organic and inorganic materials. Stones that have been created by compressing smaller pieces of amber will sometimes show the boundary layers of the original material. Plastic imitations with inserted insects will have a boundary layer surrounding insect.LusterWaxyStabilityPoorFractureConchoidalCleavageNone